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Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) Attributed. Apollo And Daphne Transformed Into A Laurel Tree

Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) Attributed. Apollo And Daphne Transformed Into A Laurel Tree

Object description :

"Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) Attributed. Apollo And Daphne Transformed Into A Laurel Tree "
Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) attributed. Apollo and Daphne transformed into a laurel tree on a gold background circa 1660

Oil on panel measuring 86 cm by 44.5 cm
Old 17th century frame measuring 102 cm by 61 cm

Provenance: Rothschild family, Paris until the beginning of the 20th century then donation and inheritances.

The gold cabinets of the 17th century

From the middle of the 17th century, decorations on a gold background multiplied in the palaces and private mansions of the aristocracy. Many are lost forever but some have fortunately reached us in situ as at the Hôtel de Lauzun in Paris or were taken down before the destruction of the walls (Hôtel Hervart, etc.) or before the complete modification of the decoration as at the Tuileries by decision of Napoleon I (which saved them from the fire of 1870, by the way) It is difficult to determine precisely the original location of our panel, however certain avenues are available to us. One of the most serious is the Hotel d'Hervart and its Apollon salon which was, according to a contemporary, "the most beautiful Room in Paris for Paintings". Maison Artcurial sold in November 2020 (€25,000) a panel also made of three boards, of the same width and 15 cm smaller in length. (Apollo teaching medicine to Aesculapius). These similarities may suggest the same possible provenance in this particular hotel. In addition, Pierre Mignard worked on the decoration of this hotel from 1662 to 1664. However, we cannot exclude other hypotheses, including the most prestigious, the apartment of Louis XIV in the Tuileries, including the king's bedroom. The ceiling of the king's large alcove painted by Nicolas Mignard has also been found, it is exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lille (the judgment of Midas with Apollo on his right and Marsyas on his left). The Grand Dauphin's bedroom was decorated by the Champaignes. All other palaces are also possible: Meudon, Saint Cloud, Montceaux les Meaux...

The myth of Apollo and Daphne

Eros shot two arrows, one in gold and the other in lead, Apollo receives the golden one and falls head over heels in love with Daphne. However, for Daphne, it is the lead arrow that is in question. The nature of metal therefore prevents her from falling in love as well, on the contrary, she flees, she even runs away. Apollo may run after his sweetheart, but nothing will work. Tired, Daphne asks Gaia to transform her into a Tree, into a laurel to be precise which is Apollo's favorite tree. He is also always represented with a laurel wreath on his head. Once the metamorphosis has been achieved, Apollo has only one thing to do to show Gaia (which is suggested by this finger raised towards the sky) that his Love is not in vain and that he will continue to take care of Daphne in watering the tree, the only thing he could do at that moment. The iconography of our painting is very rare. Generally the chase between Apollo and Daphne is represented then the transformation of Daphne into a laurel tree but, even in this case, we always see her body with its limbs which end in branches but she is never represented completely metamorphosed, moreover his face is still visible.

Pierre Mignard (1612-1695)

Mignard's apprenticeship took place in Bourges before he studied the great decorations of Fontainebleau then entered Vouet's workshop. In 1635, he left for Italy and stayed there for twenty years, producing large compositions, devotional paintings, including the Virgins known as "mignardes", portraits in the Bolognese style (in 1654, he traveled to Bologna and Venice). Returning to Paris in 1658, protégé of Mazarin, Mignard painted the king's portrait and multiplied the large decorations in the hotels of the aristocracy. But he must face competition from Charles Le Brun who has the support of Colbert. However, he obtained prestigious commissions which culminated with the (destroyed) decoration of the Château de Saint-Cloud, painted for Monsieur, brother of King Louis XIV, around 1680. Thanks to the support of Louvois, he supplanted Le Brun in favor royal and succeeded him on his death in 1690.

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Galerie PhC
Paintings and sculptures from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries

Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) Attributed. Apollo And Daphne Transformed Into A Laurel Tree
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